Mongol

Mongol

Mongol

directed by Sergei Bodrov

starring Tadanobu Asano, Honglei Sun, Khulan Chuluun

Picturehouse

Every villain is a hero in his or her own mind, and even a man as bloody and feared as Genghis Khan had a mother. She seems nice enough, and in this spectacular biopic you see an excellent back-story on the man who ruled most of Asia from the back of a horse. Mongol shows Genghis’s early years as a child in Mongolia and the bloody tribal maneuverings that he suppressed for the greater good of his name and one of the shortest-lived empires in history.

Beginning in 1192 (the year of the Black Rat), nine-year-old Temudjin (Asano as Genghis) rides off with his dad to select a bride. He chooses Börte (Chuluun), and in the five years he has to wait to actually marry, there’s enough blood and fighting to last any normal man a lifetime. Dad is poisoned by the neighbors, Temudjin is too young to hold his title, and he and his mother are abandoned. He’s captured by neighboring tribe, the Ta’yichiut, escapes, and meets Jelme and Bo’orchu (Ji Ri Mu Tu), who become his best generals. The feuds are petty and ill-explained, the names and relations a welter of confusion, and the scenery (shot mostly in Kazakhstan) as blindingly beautiful as any Panavision epic of Hollywood’s golden days.

What you don’t see is Genghis at his most powerful. We end with the consolidation of a few tribes and the elimination of a few rivals. It’s not clear what element of Genghis’s personality or upbringing makes him the conqueror, but he’s clearly resourceful, politically savvy, and not afraid to chop off a few heads. What you feel as the multilingual credits roll isn’t fear or wonder at a demigod, but the feeling you might well ride with him to glory and riches and a quick, bloody end. Life may be brutish and short, but it’s all you have. Enjoy your fermented mare’s milk and try to make something of yourself so your mama can be proud.

Mongol: www.mongolmovie.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples
    Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

From the Archives